Vattimo and Literary Understanding: An Essay on Recent Hermeneutics

International Studies in Philosophy 27 (1):51-62 (1995)
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The main purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how Gianni Vattimo offers a new interpretation of history that challenges standard accounts of the modern period and promotes a new approach to literature. The paper begins with a discussion of how the Cartesian cogito provides an inadequate basis for historical research, and then proposes that modern history can be 'read' when it is reassessed through recent hermeneutics. In 'The End of Modernity' (1985), Vattimo indicates that Heidegger's understanding of the "overcoming of metaphysics" shifted in time, thus suggesting new insights into modernity. The conclusion to the paper applies these insights to show how the notion of a unified literary period is difficult to sustain in a postmodern framework.



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